What distinguishes great leaders? Published Nov. 14, 2009 By commentary by SMSgt Lisa Troglio 131st Bomb Wing HRA Lambert IAP -- Exceptional leaders capture passion. They lead for real: from the heart, smart and focused on the future, and with a commitment to being their very best. What matters most is what one makes of the experiences along the path of learning to be a leader. It is often the traumatic and unplanned events that challenge one's identity as a leader. Today's successful leader must learn how to practice while they perform and overcome the striving, strains and struggles that can become barriers to your effectiveness as a leader. Many consider leadership to be no more than staying ahead of the pack, but that is a far cry from what leadership is. Leadership is deploying others to become as good as or better than you are. Now more than ever, your success as a leader isn't just about being great in one area of your life. You've got to be a great person, performing well in all domains of your life -- your work, your home, your community, and yourself. That's a tall order. Perform well as a leader...not by trading off one area for another, but by finding mutual value among all, as a leader who can: 1) Be real 2) Be whole 3) Be innovative. True leadership is not something you grasp, but something you become. As leaders in the ANG, we must find clear purpose in what we do, feel more connected to the people who matter most, align ourselves in the Core Values that are the bedrock of the ANG, and generate sustainable change. Within each of us lies the potential to be an effective leader. We must uncover what "leadership-power" is inside each one of us! Finding your natural leadership potential is not an easy quest, but you can and must turn it into a powerful reality.